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Justice Prayers - January 13 2021

Lord, You are the source of all rightful authority. All things hold together in you.  Forgive us for the ways that, when it comes to politics, we have worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator. - A Prayer Responding to the Events at the U.S. Capitol

U.S. Immigration Detentions Lacked COVID-19 Safety

Immigrants lacked access to the most basic COVID-19 prevention measures, such as soap for hand-washing, and were retaliated against for raising safety concerns as the pandemic spread through detention facilities last year, according to a new report on the grim conditions at US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities. ICE created unacceptable health risks and violated constitutional and human rights during the pandemic, said researchers who interviewed 50 former detainees. 

God, you call us to remember the foreigner, to welcome the sojourner, and to have compassion on widows, orphans, and those who are vulnerable. We lament this failure to treat immigrants with basic human dignity and protect them from disease in the way that we wish to be protected. We pray for accountability, for restoration of oversight, and for those who are fleeing persecution today to receive hospitality.

Humanitarian Crises Not Reported

The launch of PlayStation 5 received 26 times more news attention than 10 humanitarian crises combined in 2020, according to a Care International report. The humanitarian crises, which included violence in Guatemala, hunger in Madagascar and natural disasters in Papua New Guinea, were largely swept aside by news of COVID-19, global Black Lives Matter protests and more clickbait-friendly events such as the Eurovision song contest and Kanye West’s bid for the US presidency; the latter two each received 10 times more online news attention than the humanitarian crises in question, the report found. The lack of media coverage adds to existing burdens for the 10 countries in crisis, including the effects of pandemic restrictions and the growing impact of climate change.

We are burdened by the suffering of the world. We pray for courage to not avert our eyes, Lord. Convict us when we are distracted by the frivolous. Give us greater ability to pay attention to suffering, greater capacity to bear witness to pain, so that those in power who have the means to intervene would be held accountable to do so. 

Kenya Locusts

New swarms of locusts in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya are spreading further in the eastern Africa region, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned. FAO said the immature swarms have been migrating from the previous locust breeding grounds in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia and spreading into Ethiopia’s SNNP region and into Kenya’s northern and coastal counties. A few swarms could spread further in Kenya and reach Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda this month, the FAO warns.

God, we pray that these locusts might not spread and cause suffering, hunger, and destruction. We pray for all those who watch this unfold and feel powerless to meet their needs and the needs of those they love. We pray for those who wonder what they will do if they cannot feed their children. We pray, Lord, for help.

Cuba Placed Back on U.S. List As a Sponsor of Terrorism  

The U.S. has placed Cuba back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism, citing the communist country's backing of Venezuela. President Donald Trump's administration made the announcement just days before he leaves the White House. President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office on January 20, has previously said he wants to improve US-Cuban relations, including allowing Cuban-Americans to visit family and send money. The decision is likely to hinder a quick repair of relations, as Cuba's place on the list will require a formal review that could take months, analysts say. Since the Cold War era, the U.S. had pursued various policies to undermine Cuba which it saw as a great threat. Cuba now rejoins countries including Iran and North Korea on the list of sponsors of terrorism. The impact on the island country includes severe limits on foreign investment.

God, for the families separated by this enmity between the U.S. and Cuba, we pray. For those who suffer from poverty and hopelessness that results from years of embargoes and lack of resources in Cuba, we pray. For the suffering people of Venezuela, victims of an ongoing economic and political crisis, we pray. For U.S. and global leaders who make difficult decisions that impact innocent lives, we pray.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

Dr. Martin Luther King Community Celebration Event

Join the CRC Office of Race Relations at this virtual event highlighting Dr. King's theoretical postulations and endeavors through expressive language of the arts and a powerful positive message. The evening will culminate with keynote speaker Dr. Howard Earle, senior pastor at New Hope Baptist Church (Grand Rapids, Mich.) Full details about this event are available here.

A Statement on the Events at the U.S. Capitol

As we react and respond to the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2020, read  the full statement along with resources from Colin Watson, Sr., executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, at this link.

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